The NFU has urged the government to grant emergency exemptions from water abstraction regulations for growers and farmers.
At a summit this week, farming groups also called for support in transporting feed to areas of the country running low amid “hugely challenging” weather conditions.
Environment secretary Michael Gove vowed to do “whatever it takes” to ensure food supplies would not be compromised by the drought, which has already seen severely depleted yields for some crops and reduced grass growth.
“Today’s summit was a wake-up call to government and policy makers about the importance of British food production and the critical need to manage the volatility that comes with it,” said NFU president Minette Batters.
Attendees included Defra, The Environment Agency, Natural England and the Rural Payments Agency among others, who met to discuss challenges facing the industry such as heat stress on livestock and increased risk of crop fires in “tinderbox conditions”.
Farming groups stressed the increased urgency of farms receiving overdue BPS and Countryside Stewardship payments. Meanwhile, charities highlighted that the mounting pressure and costs resulting from the drought had led to growing concerns for the physical and mental wellbeing of farmers.
“The impacts of the dry and hot weather have been hugely challenging for many farms across the country, with many not seeing such weather in their lifetimes,” added Batters.
“As we move towards a new domestic agricultural policy it’s vital that market failure and volatility are treated seriously alongside productivity and delivering for the environment.”